How to Estimate the Cost of Finishing a Basement

How to Estimate the Cost of Finishing a Basement
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Finishing a basement can add square footage and increase the value of the home. To estimate the cost of finishing your basement, design how you want the area to be laid out. Include windows, doors and partition walls you want to incorporate into the basement in your design. Calculate the price of supplies, tools and materials into your budget. Costs of materials vary in different regions. Visit you local hardware store for exact costs of materials.

Measure the height and length of your basement walls. Record the measurements. For partition walls you want to add, run your tape measure along the walls future locations and record those measurements as well. You need to account for all the walls in your basement to estimate the costs of materials.

Determine the amount of lumber you need for the walls by adding the linear feet of the walls. Contact your local lumber supplier for unit pricing.

Determine the amount of dry wall needed. Divide the total drywall area by 32, which is one sheet of drywall coverage. Multiply wall height by the linear feet of the walls. If you have a partition wall, count it twice because it needs drywall on two sides. Use the square footage of the room to calculate drywall for the ceiling. Contact your local hardware store for drywall pricing.

Figure how much electrical wiring, lighting and outlets are needed to finish your basement. Contact several local licensed electricians to give you estimates for installation.

Price paint for your basement. Typically, a 200-square-foot room can be covered by one gallon of primer and a 400-square-foot room can be covered by one gallon of paint. Use your drywall measurements to estimate the amount of paint needed for your basement.

Price interior trim and doors. You need to purchase molding for the bottom of your walls. Divide the linear feet of your walls (include partition walls) by the length sold at your local lumber suppler (typically 12 to 16 feet) to get the amount needed for your basement. Compare prices and sizes from several lumber yards.

Price padding and carpet by dividing square footage by 9. This converts the measurement into square yards, which is the unit used by carpet dealers.

Add in lower-cost items such as screws, nails, compound, drywall joint, drywall tape and so on. Include the price of tools you need to buy or rent such as a compressor, nail gun, screw gun and paint brushes. Total everything up to get a low estimate for the cost of your project.


  • Consider hiring a contractor to finish your basement. If you choose to do so, calculate the cost of labor into your budget for the room.